Hey cat’s! Its that time of the year again. That time to get down and get wiiiiiith it. Now what do I mean by this? What is this ‘it’ I am referring to in my preceding statement? F*ck knows! But I know a couple of men who do. Who? Director: Michael Schultz; and Actors: George Carlin, Richard Pryor, Franklyn Ajaye, Ivan Dixon and Bill Duke. They knew what ‘it’ meant in 1976, and only for about 93 minutes.
Car Wash : The Film - The Song
Welcome one and all to the city of Los Angeles. Or more specifically, a day in the life of a Car Wash.
Please note though, this hand washing automobile facility, is trafficked by numerous customers on a hourly basis. A Mother and her sick child. A smart looking gentlemen who wishes to take heed in the services provided. The evangelist ‘Daddy Rich’ and the Wilson sisters (Richard Pryor and the Pointer Sisters). A man in a body cast. Plus lets not forget, the pee-bomber his good self.
However, if these people are the customers, then who are the employees? Well...
- The owner of the car wash is a rather timidly chap called Mr B (Sully Boyar), who supervises his business with a little help from his left-wing idealistic son, Irwin (Richard Brestoff). Irwin doesn't want to be a ‘boss’ though, he wants to be ‘one of the workers’ instead. And so he bides his time somewhat fleetingly with the rest of his forecourt fellows.
- Floyd and Lloyd (Darrow Igus and Otis Day) are a dancing duo, whom spend most of their day at the car wash by steaming the cars, whilst practicing their foot-work.
- Goody and Chuco (Henry Kingi and Pepe Serna) are a couple of car wash clowns, who bide their time at this place of work, by making light of life, and playing practical jokes on one another.
- Scruggs and Justin (Jack and Kehoe and Leon Pinkey) are ebony and ivory pals with very similar problems. Women’s problems. But where as Justin manages to sort his out by the end of the day, Scruggs is left behind, holding his cowboy hat in his hand.
- Hippo (James Spinks) is a rather heavy set gentlemen, who spends his day with his radio to his ear, whilst partnered up with a fast talking drag queen, Lindy (Antonio Fargas). Well, that is when he isn’t canoodling in the bathroom with car-wash hooker, and taxi cab defrauder, Marleen (Lauren Jones). Psst! Listen. The cab she swindles from belongs to George Carlin.
- The clerk at the car wash is a pretty girl that goes by the name of Marsha (Melanie Mayron). She is a well groomed lass with an inferiority complex. Which is why she spends most of her time looking at herself in the mirror, or pandering to the charms her boss, Mr B. One gentleman customer does ask her out though – but he does not show up. B*stard.
- T.C. (Frankin Ajaye) is the daydreamer of the group. Some of the time he pretends to be a superhero called ‘the human fly'. Some of his other time he yearns for the love of a coffee shop waitress. And in between this time ans that time, he persistently attempts to win a radio competition. Now one of these things don't come true by the end of the day. Can you guess which one?
- Finally, there is Lonnie and Duane (Ivan Dixon and Bill Duke). Lonnie is an honourable ex-con who looks upon his fellow co-workers as if they were his children, especially Duane. Duane on the other hand has recently associated himself with a guerrilla faction of a militant right wing extremist group. And it is because of this affiliation, that he has adopted the name Abdullah, and taken time off of work as well. Unfortunately, this association does not really fair to well for him. Unless Lonnie steps in to sort thing out.
Oh! One minute! How could I have forgotten about Snapper? Ottis? Geronimo? And Slide? How could I forget about the shoe-shine man? The car-ticket fiend? The quite co-worker? And the snooty forecourt-attendant? Well, I suppose that is life, huh?
'Car Wash' is a film that does not tell a story, but rather shows a way of life. Granted, it is a slice of seventies life – with the hips swivelling and the curtains jumping – but a way of life all the same.
You see, on a certain level I find that this film is very much like a sketch film – one that is able to knits together quite intricately each individual scene into a larger tapestry. Whilst, on another level, this same 'larger tapestry' – i.e. the characters – imbues the overall structure quite seamlessly within a fabricated and embroidered plot .
DAMN! I've got an tapestry analogy running through my head now!!! Give me one minute to compose my thoughts please.
I dare anybody after watching this movie, not to tap there feet to the catchy film score, as well as appreciate the very real message that this film delivers. Yes my friends. This film does have a message.